Friday, November 20, 2009

A Rejuvenating Day

Today I went to the temple after a 4-month unwanted (and completely unwelcomed) hiatus. I’ve been feeling myself needing to go for quite awhile, but have not gone due to my work schedule and crazy, busy life that I’ve had since starting working at The Picture People back in August. Although I am grateful for the job and appreciate that they hired me back on, I am already feeling that it is not where I belong long-term. I have to work too many nights and too many Sundays. And although even one Sunday a month would be “too many” I’m currently suppose to work 2 a month. So 50% of the time, I don’t get to go to Church. Add that to not teaching Seminary, not going to the temple weekly, slacking on my scripture study and prayers, not getting my Visiting Teaching done, and the list could actually go on and on. . .I have been in somewhat of a downward spiral these last few months as far as my spirituality goes. And it has had me feeling very concerned. I am not the same person I was 6 months ago and I do not like who I am becoming. I feel an old, familiar but undesirable, rebellious nature being brought back to the surface. I have felt quite frustrated a lot lately and feel an internal fight going on as I try to come to terms with where I am at and what I am responsible for.

Tuesday, I was feeling pretty down about everything. I had been thinking about the branch balanced on the rocks a lot. And I contemplated what it is that I need to do differently so that I could, once again, be balanced. I did a simple checklist with the basic Seminary answers. To be “balanced on the Rock” one must read the scriptures, pray, attend Church meetings, serve, be obedient to qualify for the Holy Ghost’s protection and guidance. As I pondered this list, I was embarrassed and humbled to see the glaring reality. No wonder my spirituality was suffering. I was struggling in every area.

During this time of frustration for me, my dear friend Lynn called. I felt bad because I’m sure she called to share something from her life and I turned the call into something completely about me. I shared my frustrations. My concerns. And I also think I scared her some because I was, at the time, feeling pretty apathetic towards making things better. She gave me some firm, but loving, advice to do the things that I knew I should do. She also reminded me of a talk from the most recent General Conference that I should read called "Preserving the Heart's Mighty Change". I read it and knew immediately that she was inspired to tell me about it. It was exactly what I needed. I’ve read it like 5 times since Tuesday! And it gives me hope, encouragement and strength. Here's a link to the talk:,5232,23-1-1117-31,00.html

The temple today gave me a spiritual rejuvenation that I so needed. I felt the Lord’s love for me and I was given answers to my prayers. Which, really, just sort of amazes me. How quick He is to come running to my rescue. Even before the words can be formed and leave my lips, the Savior is there to hear me and to respond to me. Before I am fully aware of the cliff that I am about to fall over, He is standing at ready to catch me and save me from my demise! I am so unworthy. Yet He is there. I have such a rebellious nature sometimes and yet, He loves me. He believes in me. He saves me. How can I ever be worthy of all He gives?!

I am so grateful for the time I spent in the temple today. I know that there are many things I must do to bring myself back to where I need to and want to be spiritually. I received some wonderful gifts today. I went into the session asking for strength, courage and wisdom. I came away with all of the above.

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Changes, Trials, and Rocks!

I have been going through a lot of changes in my life lately. Changes that, for me, are good, but hard. Needful, but painful. Changes that are causing me to really find out who I am and what I'm made of. Trials in life are an interesting thing. I have always understood that they are necessary in order to progress in life. Today in Church we discussed momentarily about the sin of being idle: what it is and why it is bad. I thought how when a car sits idle, it's not going anywhere. In our life, we definitely want to be going somewhere! Sitting idle just wastes gas and doesn't do anyone any good!

Well, I can without reservation state that I have not been idle in my life this past little while! In fact, I have been too busy. So busy that I do not feel like I am accomplishing anything that I need to! Although I have decided to "close down" my business, I am still taking on new projects. That added to working 40 hours at my job. . .I work more than ever and am available for my family less than ever.

I am learning in a painful way the dangers of being too busy. I have found that I don't make time lately for all the really important things in life. While our bills are getting paid, there is so much that goes undone. I have felt my own personal spirituality slip to a level that I am definitely not comfortable with. I miss teaching Seminary. I miss going to temple every week. I miss having time to ponder the scriptures, to hear the promptings of the Spirit guiding me.

I need to figure out how to get back to such a place in my life. How do people balance it all?! How do I make it all work and be everything for everyone that needs me?! I feel very conflicted these days.

As I think and ponder on these thoughts, I am always brought back to an experience that I had a couple of years ago. I was going on a hike with a friend. We walked by a river. As I walked along the path, watching the water, I thought of how much water represents. For me, it is a source of fear, grief and anger. Yet at the same time, I think of how water represents life. Even eternal life. It represents the cleansing process. I, however, got stuck on how the water represented trials. It was Springtime and the water was high and moving fast. I thought of how easy it would be to get caught up in the water and be rushed away, out of control. I felt overwhelmed as I thought of how, in life sometimes it is the same. We get caught up in everything and before we know it, everything seems out of control (much like I feel now).

As I continued on the path, it wasn't long before I came upon a scene that made me stop and re-evaluate everything. I thought to myself how there was a definite lesson in what I was seeing. What I saw was an group of rocks in the middle of the river with the raging water splashing all around. And on top of the biggest rock was a branch. Balanced perfectly. It was getting splashed on by the water, but it remained balanced on the rock. With the river raging all around, it seemed that the branch denied the river the satisfaction of washing it away. Instead, it sat in peace and safety. . .on the Rock! I felt a great peace come over me as I realized the lesson.

It is a simple lesson, yet the principle is so profound. It works EVERY time. We must balance our lives on the Rock of Salvation: even Jesus Christ. He is there for us. We must balance everything upon Him and then we will have peace amidst the turmoil.

See? Simple! So if it is so "simple", why do I struggle so? If I understand and believe the principle, why do I still find my life out of balance so often? Sometimes, making the balance actually work takes time, practice, and tenacity. I know that I will find balance again. And I know that when I do, I will be so much the better person. Experience is a wonderful thing. I look forward to being able to look back on this time in my life and feel gratitude for the lessons I've learned. For now, I'm making a list of all that I need to do differently so that I am balanced properly!

A final thought: "And now. . .remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. " Helaman 5:12

PS - In case you're wondering if I had my camera with me that day, the answer is "of course!" The image of the branch balanced on the rocks hangs in my office as a constant reminder of what I am striving for. I didn't post it here because the image file is on my hard drive at the office and I am at home tonight.